Agric potential not fully utilized- President Akufo-Addo …as food import bill hits US$2bn

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has bemoaned the slow growth of the agricultural sector in the last decade; a situation he said has denied the country of the resources that would have otherwise been available to propel the country’s economic development.

“Indeed, it  is  sad that with all it potential, the agricultural sector is yet to impact significantly on the social economic development of our country.

Agriculture has generally under-performed, and has denied the country of resources that would have otherwise been available and would have propelled the country’s development,” the President said this at the 36th Farmers’ Day Celebration in Ho.

He said with current fast-pace development and complexity of today’s world, Ghana cannot be contempt with the slow growth of the agricultural sector as experience through the 8 years of the previous administration.

He said over the last decade, the ineffectiveness of public policy explained Ghana’s position as a rising importer of food, adding that the staggering annual inflow of food import bill of over US$2bn is unacceptable and is the more reason that his government is on a mission to revolutionized Ghana’s agricultural sector.

“Right through the value-chain to production and consumption, we all have a role to play to help transform Ghana’s agriculture.”

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President Akufo-Addo said through his government’s strategic policy for reviving the agricultural sector, which is dubbed the ‘Planting for Food and Job (PFJ)’, the process of transformation has gathered steam and is sweeping through every branch of agriculture.

“PFJ, now a household name, is achieving considerable success within the three years of its implementation.

Backing his point with statistics, the President said the policy has resulted the sectorial growth rate from a lower of 2.9 percent in 2016 to 6.1 percent in 2018

Again, he said available statistics on selected crops in 2018 as compared in 2016 reveled an increase in maize production by 89percent from 1.8 metric ton per hectare to 3.4 metric ton per hectare in 2018.

Rice has seen a 48percent increase of production from 2.7 metric tons per hectare in 2016 to 4 metric tons per hectare in 2018.

There was a 200percent increase in soy production from 1 metric ton per hectare in 2016 to 3 metric tons per hectare in 2018. This achievement was a direct result of the provision of subsidized fertilizer and improved seeds.

He stated that the intervention under the PFJ policy has been designed to achieve how to use farming to access subsidized fertilizer, reduce post harvest loses, increase extension services to farmers and develop the livestock sub-sector among others.

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Celebrating farmers

The president giving reasons why farmers in the country must be celebrated said Ghana is known globally for its premium cocoa bean, and for this reason the cocoa farmers must be celebrated for giving Ghana an international recognition.

“Equally, farmers who have strived hard in showcasing Ghana’s rich diversity in agriculture both on domestic and international market deserve to be motivated for their tireless effort,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo said the theme for this year’s Farmers Day “Enhancing Small Scale Agriculture Towards Agribusiness Development” is very relevant because it sync with government vision of focusing on small-scale holder farming in modernizing and transforming Ghana agriculture.

For this reason, he urged Ghanaians to move away from subsistence to commercial agriculture.

Achieving this objective, he said government has offered a targeted support to small-scale farming to scale-up production to open up agribusiness opportunity to the rest of the economy.

“Benefit of developing agribusiness are numerous and diverse, it’s evident in developed and emerging economies and Ghana cannot be an exception to this rule.

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